Covalent Bonds, Hydrogen Bonds

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Session Overview


This session will introduce the structure of biological molecules and the molecular forces involved in the formation of these molecules.

Learning Objectives

  • To be able to identify the forces that act in biological systems: covalent bonds, ionic bonds, hydrogen bonds, van der Waal’s forces, and hydrophobicity.
  • To understand the properties of covalent bonds as well as the concepts of biological catalysts and chirality.
  • To be able to distinguish between a polar and non-polar molecule and understand the concept of electronegativity.
  • To be able to explain how hydrogen bonds are formed and describe their importance in biological systems.

Session Activities

Lecture Video

Watch the lecture video excerpt

Check Yourself

Question 1

Which of the following type of bond or interaction joins monomers together to form biological polymers?

Covalent Bond check
Hydrophobic interactions close
Ionic bond close
van der Waals forces close

Question 2

Which of the following does not accurately describe a covalent bond?

About 10x as strong as a hydrogen bond. check
Can come in the form of a triple bond. close
Cannot be broken spontaneously in a biological system. close
Shared electrons. close
Strongest kind of bond/force in biological molecules. close

Session Activities

Help Session Video

Watch the short video of Nicole DeNisco explaining covalent bonds, chirality, electronegativity, and hydrogen bonding, that refers to the practice problem below.

Practice Problems

Further Study

Suggested topics for further study in an introductory-level Biology textbook

  • Forces: covalent bonds, ionic bonds, hydrogen bonds, van der Waal’s forces, and hydrophobicity
  • Catalysts
  • Chirality
  • Polarity

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Learning Resource Types

theaters Recitation Videos
assignment_turned_in Problem Sets with Solutions
grading Exams with Solutions
theaters Lecture Videos